Social Security Benefits Are Not Paid for the Month of Death. If a person dies on the 29th of the month, that months check must be returned. There is no prorated portion to the month even though the recipient was alive 28 days of that month. The $255 lump-sum death payment only applies if there is a surviving spouse or dependent child. This rule has been in the law since 1939. Medicare coverage at least is effective until the time of death. No other pension, whether private or government (VA, Military, Fers, Civil Service) are treated that way. They pay up to the time of their death. It is time legislation take action and give SSI recipients what the entitled to up until the day of their death!